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tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  October 19, 2021 11:50am-2:23pm EDT

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today coast do you ever disagree with your political party? and do you disagree with your party's stance on things like
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vaccine mandates and spending on capitol hill or issues on abortion and the military withdraw? where the party stands, where you stand. for democrats, it's 202748000. this is a piece by editor at large from cnn. the colon powell republican no longer exists in the republican party. he writes powell's personal journey from potential and much-coveted presidential candidate in the mid1990s to pariah in the trumpified gop. talks about how the party went from the changing face of america and the need to adapt its policies. as to one organized around the often intolerant use of a single man, who spent less time as a republican than powell did. at the time of his death, in an acknowledgment of how far the party moved away from his views,
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powell, quote, i can no longer call myself a republican and i'm just a citizen who's voted republican, voted democrat throughout my entire career and right now i'm just watching my country and not concerned with parties. that's colon powell. front page this morning of the "wall street journal" and their reporting on the death of colon powell. a trail blazing general and top diplomat dies at the age of 87. as the country's first black joint chiefs of staff chairman, white house national security advisor and secretary of state has die at age 84. he had been fully vaccinated. rrs a long-time aid said he had undergone treatment in recent years for a blood cancer, known to weaken the immune system.
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he advocated against but urged forces when conflict was unavoidable. the powell doctrine. it was born out of his combat experience out of vietnam and that war should be a last resort with clear objectives, strong support and defensive action. writing about the political side, or lack of political side, from colon powell. "a legacy of country ahead of party." they write in 2008, he endorsed barack obama, the first black president and later backed democratic presidential candidates, soundly rejecting trump in january, after a pro-trump mob stormed the capitol, storm said he could quote, no longer call himself a republican. following the january 6th insurrection, powell disavowed his party in an interview with
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cnn. he was asked if members of the gop realize, quote, they encourage the wildness to grow. referring to the trump administration. quote, they didn't. and that's why i can no longer call myself a republican. i'm not a fellow of anything right now, said colon powell. dead at the age of 84. asking you this morning about your political party and whether you ever disagree with that political party. 20248001 for republicans. and we'll take you back 13 years ago today when colon powell, on "meet the press" then a republican, announced his endorsement for barack obama for president. >> now, i understand what politics is all about and how you can go after one another. and that's good. but i think this goes too far and it's made the mccain campaign look a little narrow.
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ritsz not what the american people are looking for. i look at these kinds of approaches to the campaign and they trouble me. the party has moved even further to the right and governor palin has indicated a further rightward shift. i would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the supreme court but that's what we would look at in a mccain administration. i'm also troubled by, not what senator mccain says, but what members of the party say. such things as, well, you know mr. obama is a muslim. he's not a muslim. he's a christian. always been a christian. but the right answer is, what if he is? is there something wrong with peaing a muslim? answer is no. that's not america. is there something wrong with a 7-year-old muslim kid believing he or she could be president? yet i heard senior members of my own party drop the assumption that he is muslim and might be
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associated with terrorists. this is not how we should be in america. >> asking if you ever disagree with your political party. republicans, 2027480001. democrats, 202748000. and for all others, 2027480002. in the political party on capitol hill, the democrats party on capitol hill, a headline recently, progressive democrats seek to purge the term, moderate. comments from congressman from new york city saying, he said in this article -- they write in this article about that. referring to the small handful of conservative democrats, does grave harm to the english language and unfairly maligns my colleagues, who are moderate, yet by and large understand the mistakes of this historic
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moment. they're united in our commitment to passing president biden's agenda and delivering for the american people. anyone trying obstruct that agenda is, at best, behaving like a republican. first caller up is caller on the independent line. good morning. >> good morning. thank you, for c-span. i was a democrat since i was 18. a couple of years ago i became -- i'm what they call unenrolled voter. i don't know how that differs from independent but it sounded better to me. the could i make a statement about colon powell? >> sure, yeah. >> caller: well, i would respect his memory if he had resigned before he made that presentation in the united nations. now, i watched the whole thing. at the end, i said where's the
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proof? where's the proof? he had a vile of some white substance and then they showed some photographs, aerial photographs of -- could have been any parking lots or anything. and then they had some recorded a telephone calls. that really didn't make any sense. i mean, i have no belief, when somebody dies or anything. but he had to be in under no -- i mean, a man in his position with his intelligence. i quit the democratic party because, to me, they'll fight tooth and nail with the republicans, when it comes to social issues. which are important. but when it comes to funding the military and bailing out the wall street, the banks, they're the same, they're all the same.
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they fight and they fight tooth and nail when it comes to social issues because -- just to show the public that they're supposedly for the people. but i don't go for that at all. thank you very much for c-span. >> randy in wisconsin on the republican line. >> caller: that's one of the top things. do i ever disagree with my political party? sure i do. there are things they do i don't especially care for. but i look at what biden's doing on the democrat's side. and pardon biden people, please put your signs back out in the yard. when i speak about the great colon powell, he was a great, great leader. and you and cnn have got to quit trying to shove trump into this
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colon powell. colon powell made that statement against trump but he went democrat in 2008, when barack obama was running for president. he was a black man, president obama was a black man. that's why he switched, in my eyes. but colon powell was a great man. regardless of what party he's on. so, quit trying to associate him with bad things. >> back to the party you're affiliated with, republican party. you said yes, you disagree. what are areas in the past you disagree with the party? >> when they sign on to bills with democrats to spend money. they say they're not going to vote for a package and next thing you know they're voting right along with the democrats, raising taxes. get off that spending spree. the government doesn't make money.
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they only spend your money. you got to slow it down a little bit here. get things going again. thanks a lot. >> john on our democrat's line. go ahead. >> caller: hi, thank you so much for c-span and for this opportunity. i turned registered democrat a couple of years ago when romney was running. i've been republican all my life. but it was just more let's do wars and let's send money to the rich. so, i go democrat. but i'm not real satisfied with them either. i think it's always a grass is greener. can i make a covid comment? >> sure. geahead. >> caller: so, i'm also a vaccine-hesitant person that got vaccinated because my workplace made it uncomfortable not to. i don't know if all the
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employers know that the emergency use authorization legislation gives tort protection for the drug companies, for government agencies, health care providers. but does not give any torte protection for companies that enforce a vaccine mandate. i can see the lawyers chomping at the bit with -- if you have an adverse reaction and the your employer made you get the vaccine, you've got a great lawsuit. >> this is where you disagree some with your party. we're going to talk about this more in a next segment. particularly the mandates that the federal government is instituting with the military and other places. >> caller: yeah. you know, i don't know. if we had a good vaccine, i'd feel different about it. but we have this leaky vaccine. over in china, they have a whole
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virus vaccine. you look at the china numbers and they look a lot better than we do. i did a graph -- i'm a science teacher. so, i did a graph of vaccinations rates verses every covid measure, whether it's hospitalizations or what not. i showed it to my students and they said gosh, there's no correlation. and i just don't know why this becomes the only variable that people look at. what they said, my students said there must be a lot of other variables besides vaccination rate, because when we taught it worldwide or statewide, the correlation is close to zero. >> we'll talk a bit more about that next segment. asking this segment about your political parties. do you ever disagree with your own political party?
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and independent line. evan is indiana in. good morning. >> caller: me. >> yes, sir. go ahead. >> caller: all right. i'm at crown point, indiana. >> okay. >> caller: anyway, anyway. i think my general is also my fraternal twin. we were born in the same year. to me -- i'm a libertarian. i'm not unregistered. i'm a libertarian. but i was a republican until 1980. all my life. i worked in the republican party. i was part of the county
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organization and a new york state county. the only reason i didn't run for office was i came home and said i'm going to run for mayor and she said what? you don't spend enough time with your boys as it is. well, i thought about it and she was right. so, now my spectator sport is politics. and that's why i'm calling. >> and you remain as a libertarian -- >> caller: a president of the united states. and that's all i got to say. >> we take you back to last year. two years ago, 2019, on cnn's farid zacarria's "gps."
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>> you were a very important figure in the republican party. as such an important republican, do you worry that the party is putting party or maybe trump before country? >> let me start by saying i had no political affiliation during my first 35 years in government in the army. arizona officer, i had no party. it was only when i left and there was attention given to me about running for politics and i said it's not me. and i identified myself as republican. i also made it clear to people that i was a republican who was ronald reagan's national security advisor. i worked with george herbert walker bush and gorge h.w. bush. i'm a moderate republican who believes in a strong foreign policy, defense policy and we
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should work hard to make sure we're one country, one team. on that basis, i called myself republican. but in the state of virginia, you're not anything. you can be anything you want any day of the week. to answer your question. republican party has got to get a grip on itself. right now republican leaders and both senate and the house, are holding back because they're terrified of what will happen to any one of them if they speak out. will they lose a primary? i don't know why that's such a disaster. but will they lose a primary? they need to get a grip. and whether they see things that are not right, they need to say something about it. because our foreign policy is a shambles, in my humble judgment. i see things happening that are hard to understand. a couple weeks ago the president put a circle on a map and
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meteorologist said no, no. in my time and her time, one of us would have gone to the president and said mr. president, you screwed up. and we'll put out a correction. they ordered them to back up whatever the president missaid. this is not inway the country's supposed to run. and congress is one of the institutions that should be doing something about this. all part of congress. the media has a role to play. we all have a role to play. [ applause ] we've got to remember that all of these pieces are part of our government. executive branch, congress, supreme court and the fourth of state. and we got to remember what the constitution started with. we the people, not we the president. >> and writing about colon powell this morning with the headline, "colon powell was an
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insider who also stood apart." writing that plenty thought he should run for president and he never found a wholly comfortable spot for himself in the often polarized political system that emerged in the course of his lifetime. too conservative for today's version of the democratic party. yet he couldn't embrace the ice isolationist tendencies of republican party. asking do you ever disagree with your party? 202748003. and this is from danny daniel in spring field, illinois. i disagree with my political party every day but not as much as the other party. i'm fine with the democrats on their platform. this tweet says i was affiliated with a party but my many disagreements with it led me to
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change my status to nonparty affiliation. yes, i do disagree with my democratic party when they won't meet in the middle. i have traditionally voted democrat, however, i don't like throwing money on society's problems, such as welfare section 8. in reality, it changes nothing. good morning, jim. good morning. >> caller: i was calling to say that i do disagree with my party. i used to be independent but i voted probably 90/95% of the time for democrats. but then i switched parties to republican because i became so dissolutioned with the democratic party and other social spending programs and that's why i disagree with the republican party. when they started spending more money.
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i'm concerned with reducing the debt and things like that. that's my main concern. >> thanks, jim. garland, texas. robin on the republican line as well. >> caller: thank you. i do disagree with the party. because they entered the capitol. it just looked so bad. but they were following antifa and even fbi agents who entrapped them, set them up, opened it doors for them. so, i'm definitely a republican all the way. i think the democrats are going full blast socialism. it scares me to death. this mandate is sickening. it's the death shot. i don't think it's right -- nobody should take a shot. we are all different. we have all different
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physiologies, our bodies are different and we shouldn't be mandated to take a shot like that. i don't trust anything the -- >> again, we'll touch on that the next segment. on the issue of the january 6th attack of the capitol, "politico's", the front page in the newspaper this morning. trump sues january 6th panel. donald trump is suing the january 6th select committee to block release of his white house records related to the capitol attack. the former president's lawyers filed a 26-page suit on monday defending declaring the committee's investigation a, quote, vex agss, illegal fishing expedition. trump's legal team contends that the january 6th panel's push for voluminous records from his administration, such as internal
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communications with lawyers, campaign operatives and senior officials would shatter the notion of executive privilege. and by the way, i want to let you know we're covering this evening. the select committee is meeting this evening to review a subpoena enforcement against former white house aid, steve bannon. that is coming up tonight, this evening at 7:30 eastern. you can follow that live on c-span 2. also streaming live at and the c-span now mobile app. earl, asking do you ever disagree with your political party? >> caller: yes, yes. i disagree. there's a lack of courage in the democratic party. we're watching the slow evolution of a tidal wave of naziism in america. and nobody has the nerve to call it what it is. it's naziism, pure and simple.
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and there's no abraham lincoln in the wings to save us this time. so, we better get on the ball. >> tk's an independent calling from california. welcome. >> caller: thank you very much and thank you for c-span. thank you for taking my call and god bless america. what i'd like to tell you is i'm a 47-year-old american. raised by conservative republicans. but during the barack obama presidency, i changed my views. i became more independent, more towards the middle of the road. and that's what i feel that america's not understanding is it doesn't have to be blue or red, donkey or elephant. i believe that people can change
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their views. they can even in california here, i mean, i was going to vote for mr. biden verses mr. trump because i didn't believe that the country was going in a positive way on certain issues, like international and what not. but what the country has to understand it's not naziism, like the other caller was saying. that was disgusting too, tell you the truth. people can have their own mind. oh, i'm not republican or democrat. i'm the middle of the road. for that's called an independent. and i think that's what c-span's all about. that's what the country's all about it's about democracy.
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>> do you think the independent view has been crowded out of the democratic party? >> caller: well, to tell you the truth i saw adam schiff on the late-night show and it was quite disgusting. talking about the insurrection on january 6th. i mean, a lot of non-independent programs -- like, your independent. c-span is beautiful. nonbias, they're independent. they take everyone's call and that's why i keep calling because it's beautiful. independent. and that's what people tune in for. but no, i don't think democrats or republicans are being blinded by anything. i think it's the choice of the human mind, which would be am i
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towards trickle down? am i towards big taxes? am i towards big business? am i towards, like mr. president biden said, tax the rich? i mean depends on -- here's the thing, sir. president biden said let the rich pay their fair share. well, they do. they pay their fair share but it's the corporate loopholes and the corporate tax breaks that people are not understanding. individual tax incomes, people pay their fair share and i believe in a flat tax. and if you put a flat tax on americans, there's not much you can say. >> thanks for calling, tk. the hill writing about the spending debate on capitol hill.
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they feel high anxiety in the spending conflict. democrats are facing growing headaches over their sweeping bill. president biden will meet with groups of moderates and progressives today as he's facing pressure to take tighter reigns in the talks. democrats are dealing with near constant whac-a-mole of new problems, ranging from climate provisions and child care to increasingly tense infighting between moderates and progressives. senator dick durbin characterized the mood as, quote, anxious, not frustrated. as they struggle to figure out what could unite all 50 of their members, nearly every house democrat and the white house? senator joe manchin of west virginia has been a key figure in those diskugdss. he spoke about his role in the discussions and his role in the
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broader democratic party on capitol hill. >> i've never been a liberal in any way shape or the form. there's no one who ever thought i was. i've been governor, state secretary of state and i have voted pretty consistently my whole life. i don't fault any of them who feel they're much progressive and liberal. god bless them. we have to elect more, i guess, for them to get theirs, elect more liberals. i'm willing to come from zero to 1.5. >> on our question, here's what jaime in buferred, north carolina says, i am an independent, i usually vote republican. a debtor nation cannot be a strong nation very long. i'm a democrat, seriously thinking of changing to independent. the botched withdrawal from afghanistan and the
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reconstruction bill democrats are trying to push through congress and the absurd race theory are more than enough to change my affiliation. i read a couple of colon powell's books, the main reason he endorsed obama was sarah palin. he, as many others, could not put that unqualified person one heart beat from the presidency. no party is perfect. when it comes to a party business, we should come together, discuss on topics, not -- all topics, not the ones we agree on. on our democrats line, good morning. >> caller: good morning. before i give you my affiliation. i would like to say colon powell was a great man. my affiliation is democrat. i do see some time that the democrats have a hard time pushing what they want through. but when i look at this republican party, i would never
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be a republican as long as i live. first of all, i don't want to be affiliated to no party that tries to abstruct my right to vote. another thing about it is when the republicans are in office, the tax cuts they give to the rich. the constitution says for the people, we the people. and we have a planet that's on fire. we have so many problems and they call them social issues. but the roads need replacing and everything. and these people that vote republican, what do they get out of it? nothing. nothing. they're paying taxes but the rich is getting the money. and what makes it so bad. we have so many issues in this country where we need a make over. we are behind most of the -- the
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other nations have just bypassed us. we used to be number one but we're not that anymore. we're too busy fighting with each other, trying to maintain power and like i said. if we going to do a tax cut, if we are go took help the regular people and most of the people that do vote, they vote against their own interest and i see right now that we need a whole lot of makeover in this country. and what good is the debt or anything else if we're not going to have a planet left to put it in? thank you. >> west virginia is next. the republican line. steve, hello there. >> caller: hello. i just wanted to make a comment about the liz cheney types in the republican party.
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she has this naive vision what the republican party can be today. she sees -- she wants to see the ronald reagan type guy return and you know? ronald reagan didn't have the democrats so viciously attacking him. like donald trump did. the cameras came on him when he was fighting back from all that. did he handle it well all the time? no. he didn't. and he showed it and but we don't know -- you know? ronald reagan have that kind of attachment to think it's going to go back to that scenario, the way things were in 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983. it won't.
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it's just so naive. and the mitt romney guy. i mean, it's ridiculous. >> do you think political parties were any better back in that era in terms of their relationships with each other? what's your view? >> caller: well, i do, you know. you did see some, you know, a little more cooperation between the two but now -- and plus this -- the 24-hour news cycle all the time. they really don't want to get up there and make america work. they want to get a headline so their democrat donors can say wow, look what he did. boy, he really stuck to do him. i'm going to send some more money. i have to believe that is what all this is about. nancy pelosi, she doesn't care
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about really doing anything for america. none of them up there really are. you just had joe manchin on there. j joe manchin has nowhere else to go except the republican party. he needs to switch because the democrats are -- and he's just like liz cheney. what he's wanting is just not there anymore. >> the people that you know, you're a republican from west virginia. do people you know in west virginia, would they like to see joe manchin switch? >> caller: they would because he did do a lot of good for west virginia and probably, you know, i might be bias. but of all the democrats, he should have ran to be the president. he really should have.
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joe biden is as lost as anything i can imagine. i think really any decent democrat like manchin probably didn't imagine donald trump could ever be defeated but -- >> hey, steve, thanks for the call from west virginia this morning. we're asking do you ever disagree with the views of your political party? 202748001 is the republican line. 202748000 for the democrats. and looking at the life for colon powell as well. a fighter for the american dream is how it's headlines in the "times." and a key figure in the republican administration who rose from humble origins to the highest ranks. died of covid complications.
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he broke barriers as the first black joint chiefs of staff. president biden said mr. powell, quote, embodied the highest ideals of warrior and diplomat. noting mr. powell's upbringing in a new york city neighborhood and, quote, he devoted much of his life to make that reality one for others. he was fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. but he had been treated in recent years for a blood cancer that impairs the body's ability to fight infection and he had parkinson's disease. quote, we have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and great american, the family said on facebook. and he was remembered yesterday by vice president kamala harris. >> he is the first black person, black man, to be joint chiefs, chairman of the joint chiefs.
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to be national security advisor, to be secretary of state. every step of the way. when he filled those roles, he was, by everything that he did and the way he did it, inspiring so many people. and there's been a lot of conversation about that. how young service members and others, not only in the military but in our nation and around the globe took notice of what his accomplishments meant as a reflection of who we are as a nation. and i think that's one of the most important things to take away, which is that he broke so many barriers and they were not easy to break by any stretch. but he did it with dignity, grace. and because of what he was able to accomplish, it really did elevate our nation in so many ways. so, may he rest in peace.
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>> question for you this morning. do you ever disagree with your political party's views on social media? sue in new jersey says this. i'm a registered, conservative moderate republican but i feel the party has way too many rhinos and doesn't always look out for the middle class as they aim to. so, yes, i disagree and challenge them to do better. and on facebook, most recently i disagree with the refusal to extend the eviction moratorium and treatment of haitian refugees. i disagree with certain fringe elements of both parties. however, when it comes to preserving liberty, i find myself supporting people like thomas massie and ase. republican and democrat respectively. and i disgrewith the republican
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party, specifically critical race theory. i think they're missing an opportunity to clarify history, which would help the party. >> caller: i'd like to say shame on those two undercover republicans sinema and i disagree with the light sentences people are receiving for breaching the capitol. i'm a vietnam veteran myself and i dream every night about this man with horns on his head, picking the buttons off the uniform and beating me with the american flag. so, i'm suffering compounded ptsd because of the breach of the capitol and i just want to say to all of the republicans. you know that trump is dishonest. we don't need that. thank you. good morning. >> rosetta is on our democrats
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line in new rochelle, new york. hi, there. good morning. go ahead. >> caller: i'm calling -- good morning. i'm calling because i don't think the democratic party is strong enough towards the subpoenas regarding trump butting in, telling people not to ad here to subpoenas. i think they go for inherent contempt, which means they would go to jail. not a fine. i mean, these are people of means. so, a fine would be insufficient. if you put them in jail. if they don't ad here to the subpoenas, then that would say something very loud and very clear to the rest that you want to subpoena. >> thanks for that.
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and just a reminder too. we should mention the january 6th panel will be meeting this evening to consider the situation with steve bannon and the subpoena for his -- seeking his response to those subpoenas. that hearing coming up tonight, 7:30 eastern will be live on c-span 2, streaming live at and you can follow it on the c-span mobile app, c-span now. "the new york times" with a piece, an opinion piece "is it time for kirsten sinema to leave the democratic party?" and writes that clashes are a fact of life. and fierce disagreement said over slavery, led to a death in a dual with the justice of the supreme court. more recently, and less lethally, from lieberman to
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manchin have disagree, with some abandoning altogether. she writes that miss sinema could be on a similar path. they've threatened to vote of no confidence. democratic colleagues are slamming her in the media. poll numbers are falling and progressive groups are already recruiting primary challengers for her in 2024, when she's up for re-election. activists tailed her into a university rest room and recorded themselves lambasting her through the stall door. norton, virginia is next. this is linda on the independent line. good morning. >> caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. and we have very poor connections. i am in the mountains. i'm an appalachian american,
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college-educated woman. no political party. a brief comment about general that just passed, colon powell. i identify with him, he was a great leader and we've suffered a great loss. and like the general, i have been a good democrat and republican. i even dabbled in marxism in my youth and now i'm an independent. except the upcoming election in the state of virginia, on the state level, i will vote die hard republican. we have to take the power back out of the democrat's hands for a while, anyway. and go republican. and again, thank you for taking my call. come and visit us sometimes. we live in a different country. thank you very much. >> hang on the line for a second. you said at one time you were a die hard marxist, independent, democrat, republican.
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what are your core values that have not changed over the course of your life? political values that would be. what do you think those are? >> caller: let me correct you just a little bit. not a die hard marxist. i dabbled. >> thank you. record corrected. >> caller: it helped me in later years as i worked with unions. unwa was part of my life, from birth, i guess. my family were coal minors. my core values are, number one, constitutionally, we have rights. and i value those rights. i may take a little different view, looking at the war between the states than some people but unfortunately it bread this monster we call washington d.c. now. but my core values are family, independent rights, and give to
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caesar what's caesar. livable a decent, just a decent life. help others when we can and that's just about always. >> well, thanks so much for sharing that with us. appreciate the call. we'll go to louisville, kentucky next and lisa on the democrat's line. >> caller: hello. thank you for c-span. and the question is do you dish gree with your political party? >> yes. >> caller: absolutely. i don't believe in this free community college. they make it cheaper anyway so people can afford it. if you can't go to a big university, you got to stop and think about what you're spending. we just can't have this. and as far as the tax credit for the kids? it's already extended through december. i don't believe in free, giving people free money to pay for their day care. you know what? the government needs to open day
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cares, if that's the case and base it on your income. but as far as joe manchin not agreeing with the climate change provisions and the reconciliation bill, i don't understand that. we have got to do something. and if the republicans have any good ideas out there to help president biden, i would like to hear them. because all i hear is freedom, freedom, freedom. i'm pretty sure they have the same amount of freedom as we do and please help us out. thank you. >> send us a text. on that line, jay in kentucky. i did disagree with my party on nafta and the iraq war but now i agree with them whole heartedly on helping poor and middle class. my whole life depends on social security and my union pengsz. pension. on facebook, the binary system is deeply flawed. the u.s. is in need of a a
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viable third party. democrats and republicans are both embarrassing and as a black man, they just pander for my vote and leave me in the shadows. heather, i wouldn't call myself a republican but i'm not a democrat in today's standard. i disagree with both parties on a regular base. and jeffrey, yes, i do today. but i think they need to put the brakesen the economy to bring down inflation. the "washington post" lead editorial is on the death of colon powell. "mr. powell's enduring impact" is how they headline it. he lost george w. bush arguments about whether to invade iraq. but always the team player. saddam hussein has weapons of mass destruction. he laid out the intelligence but it was faulty. no chemical or biological weapons were found. he was left to absorb the blame
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for a war that eventually went sour as he privately warned. it left, what he called, a blot on his record. described as, quote, painful. today there are those that would reduce mr. powell's career to that mistake or to his pushback against bill clintn to end the ban on gay's service openly in the military. he was capable, later, of taking responsibility and admitting his mistakes that were out weighed by his accomplishments and he never let it damper his generosity of spirit. he instilled a healthy suspicion of power, untempered by character. certainly mr. powell was true to himself and to the values of his country. when, in recent years, he denounced the wanton figure, donald trump, who has taken it over. that from the "the washington post" on the independent line.
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this is matt in newton, iowa. hello. >> so, couple things. first i think it's natural and healthy we should not be 100% complete agreement with our party. myself, i have swung from democrat to now i consider myself independent just because i feel the left is getting too far that direction. but i would also like to mention, based on one of your followers comments earlier about subpoenas and politicians choose to ignore them, she mentioned trump. i think this is where these political parties start separating is they want to try to hold one group accountable but not the other. we have subpoenas that, if you watched c-span throughout the day, you'll hear these.
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and the hearings. where these election officials in arizona have ignored subpoenas and only provided partial information. there was that scuttle but saying hillary clinton ignored subpoenas. if we're going to judge on this, as a country, and as our leaders there in washington, they have to do this equally. the continued divide that they're causing from left to right is what's causing issues we have in our country today. for and it's just got to stop. news organizations across the board need to do what they're supposed to do and provide an impartial viewing of the news and we're just not getting that. and i think that's what leads to the divide in the political parties we had. because they used to be pretty close. and now they've gotten so far at each other's side that we see
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nothing but animosity and finger pointing from our house and senate on darn near a daily basis. >> to donald on the democrat's line. grand blank, michigan. >> caller: good morning. and i'd like to give a salute out to colon powell. i didn't agree with him on the iraq war but everything else, he was a professional. and he loved this country. and to joe manchin and sinema, they are destroying joe biden's agenda. and the republicans always, when they lose office, seem to wreck the economy for the next administration. this country's in bad shape right now. and these trump supporters have sold their soul to a man.
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have a great day. >> this is the headline from fox news, fox business this morning. biden to meet with house moderates and progressesivals tuesday as democrats struggle to reach reconciliation deal. comments about our opening question for you this morning. i disagree with both parties when they're not serving the public interest. they need to get money out of politics. i'm a democrat. i'm often disappointed but i could never align myself with republicans as they steadfastly sticking to an immoral, incompetent and pathological liar. they have definitely put party over country. richard in las vegas, as a democrat for 40 years, now nonpartisan, i agree and disagree some with both parties. we'll go to north carolina and hear from our independent line. this is robert. >> caller: how you doing, sir? >> fine, thank you. >> morning.
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i just heard when you talk about trump, they know he's a crook. i sure know biden's a crook and everybody else knows it. the reason he won is all these ballots he sent out, i could have voted twice and all this theft. you know he couldn't have got more votes than obama did. and i don't believe in abortion. and anybody that does, i don't know how they're going to make it to heaven. the have a good day, sir. >> scottsdale, arizona. seymore on the democrats line. hello there. >> caller: hello. i've been both republican and democrat over the years and find power is more important than the truth. we're the people. and some of the issues brought up today, one, colon powell. great man. yet people don't want public education to be free. colon powell went to city college in new york, was called the free academy at one time. no tuition.
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that's how he got through school. that's how bernard buroogot to school. many great leaders went to free school. not people who changed the tax codes on the top and make us feel that we're entitled to something when they're the ones taking billions from the economy and laughing all the way. you got to stop that problem. we the people. >> thanks, seymore. this is the hill reporting this morning. a story about north carolina. north korea firing projectile in the seas of japan. south korea's joint chief of staff said north korea launched an unidentified projectile towards the body of water located near the korean peninsula and the sea of japan. reports of the launch were not immediately available. we'll go to richard on the republican line. good morning.
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>> caller: do i disagree with my party? absolutely. on so many things i just can't name them all. but we had a man who just passed away, colon powell, who many are praising his service and everything in the past to this country. i agree with about 75% of it. but i remember when he did george w. bush's bidding, a republican president, and dick cheney's bidding, when he sat in front of the united nations and talked about weapons of mass destruction. now, that's all i'm going to say about colon powell. he's gone and god rest his soul. but in today's republican party, they are weak. they're spineless. they do not fight for this country and i'm sick of it. thank you.
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>> caller: this is the "the new york times" front page with a picture of colon powell in the oval office in 2004. the story under that, model diplomat haunted by the iraq war. his was a classic american success story. born in harlem of jamaican parents, grew up in south bronx and graduated from city college of joining, joining the army through r.o.t.c. he served two decorated tours in vietnam and security advisor to ronald reagan, helping negotiate arms treaties and an era of cooperation with soviet president, mikyle gorbachev. democrats line. >> caller: first call i want to say is i send my condolences to the powell family. my disagreement is mainly on
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social issues a little bit. as i sit here and look at the praise they gave to general powell, i'm wondering why can't our government be so, i don't know what you can call it, that they allow us -- >> james, you still there? >> caller: yes, i thought i was cut off. >> no, you were saying the government -- >> caller: yeah, yeah. i was wondering why, in our social programs, why wouldn't the government go in the inner cities. when we see how such an intelligent and honorable man, such a good man that colon powell was and not to see them develop talent in the inner cities, i can't understand it. we lose an awful lot. >> thank you. appreciate your call this morning. and there's more ahead on
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"washington journal." we'll be joined by david michaels. head of osha under president obama. we'll be talking about the upcoming emergency rule, compelling private companies to require vaccination or weekly testing. brad smith, founder and chairman of the institute for free speech talks about what his group calls assaults against american's first amendment rights. ♪ ♪ coming up today on c-span, the conformation hearing for chris maginous to head u.s. customs and border protection begins live at 9:30 a.m. eastern. at 2:00 p.m., the house returns for legislate business to work on bills from the energy and commerce committee. then back at 10:00 a.m. to consider a u.s. judge for the district of new jersey. 7:30 p.m., the house select
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committee on the january 6th attack, considers holding steve bannon in contempt for refusing to testify. and the senate banking committee looks at u.s. sanctions policy treasury department's deputy secretary. in the afternoon, a hearing with u.s. coast guard commandant admiral karl schultz. >> get c-span on the go. watch the day's biggest political events live or on demand anytime, anywhere, on our new mobile video app. c-span now, access top highlights, listen to c-span radio, and discover new podcasts all for free. download c-span now today. >> you can be a part of the national conversation by participating in c-span's student cam video competition. your opinion matters. so if you're a middle or high school student, we're asking you
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to create a five to six-minute documentary that answers the question, how does the federal government impact your life? your documentary must show supporting and opposing points of view on a federal policy or program that affects you or your community using c-span video clips which are easy to find and access at c-span student cam competition awards $100,000 in total cash prizes and you have a shot at winning the grand prize of $5,000. entries must be received before january 20th, 2022. for competition rules, tips, or just how to get started, visit our website at >> "washington journal" continues. >> david michaels is with us. he served as the director of the occupational safety and health administration from 2009 to '17 as assistant secretary of labor, the longest serving osha head. he's currently a professor at george washington university school of public health.
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professor michaels, welcome to the program. >> thanks so much for having me on again. >> we're going to talk about vaccine mandates, in particular about federal vaccine mandates. i wanted to ask you about osha. you served, as we mentioned, the longest serving osha head from 2009 during the obama administration to 2017. broadly, in terms of what osha does, how do they enforce workplace rules and regulations across the country? >> i'm glad to answer that question because so many people don't understand what osha is and how it works. osha is a law that's 50 years old. it essentially says employers have a responsibility, have the requirement to provide a workplace free of recognized serious hazards. and osha's job is to make sure employers follow the law. osha does lots of things, has many tools. the most powerful tool osha has is a standard, a rule that says
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employers must do certain things to protect workers. and that's powerful because most employers are law-abiding, and when a government agency issues a regulation or gres passes a law, they say how are we going to meet that law, how are we going to comply? so osha issues a standard around mandates and testing, for example, will have a bigger effect without any sort of enforcement done by osha beyond simply putting out the rule. osha, though, does have hundreds of inspectors. the labor department has hundreds more inspectors as well. and they go out and they walk into workplaces and look at the hazards and they can issue citations. certainly, this new standard will be enforced by inspectors, but for the most part, it will be self-enforced. employers will try to do the right thing because they know that's the law. >> osha is now a 51-year-old agency.
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it was created by the occupational safety and health act of 1970. a note it has 850 inspectors in osha, that's a lot of workers to cover, for 130 million workers, that's about 1 for every 70,000 workers in this country. in a job that requires their plates fairly full already, how will the administration be able to enforce this new mandate? >> that's right. osha has always been underresourced agency, and as you said, far too few inspectors, the estimates are take 160 years for osha to visit every work place once. but as i said, mostly, this isn't going to need to be enforced. employers, large employers covered by this will do the right thing. the other thing is, workers who see a problem will call osha. they will let osha know that their employer is not doing the
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right thing, and osha can follow up by sending an inspector or an email or a phone call and offer to send an inspector to look at the records. there are ways osha can be creative to be more efficient. certainly, this isn't going to be just enforced by inspectors randomly going into workplaces. i think it will have a huge effect, certainly some employers may not follow this, but as i said, most employers will do the right thing and will already start trying to implement this new requirement. >> we would love to hear from our listeners and viewers on the issue of vaccine mandates. we'll hear from the president momentarily. we would like to hear from you as well. the lines for the eastern and central time zones are 202-748-8000. 202-748-8001 is the line for mountain and pacific region. if you want to send us a text, 202-748-8002. our guest is david michaels, head of osha from 2009 to 2017.
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the longest serving head of osha. during your tenures, what was the most difficult or controversial issue that you had to face in terms of a workplace regulation? >> well, you know, one of the things that took a long time to get out is our regulation around silica, and silica is a very big issue with construction sites. when you see dust because of jackhammers or saws sawing cinder block, silica is getting in the air. silica causes silicosis, causes lung cancer. inosha standards process is a very slow one, and it actually took almost 20 years to get that standard out. osha started in 1997. we got it out in 2016. and it was controversial because employers always think, and osha standard is going to be hard to meet, and they always oppose it and hire scientists to say things that aren't true. that's something i have looked into a great deal. of course, that standard did come out in 2016.
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it's in effect now. it's changed the way construction is done in that much of the machinery used have attachments that either pull silica out of the air or wet it down so people don't breathe it. it's all been very accepted by employers, by construction workers, and it is saving hundreds of lives. >> do you think there are lessons learned from your experience with that that may apply to the effort by the administration with new vaccination rules? >> absolutely. osha standards are always well thought through. they spend a lot of time, they have very expert people working on it. before the standard comes out, generally, people say this is undoable. we'll never be able to meet this standard. but in fact, what we have seen time and time again, these are very reasonable standards. they don't -- they're not burdensome on businesses, and i think you'll see that with this standard as well, which i think we can expect to come out in the next couple weeks.
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>> let's hear from the president last week on that upcoming rule that osha will issue. the predspoke about it last week. let's listen. >> labor department is going to soon be issued an emergency rule for companies with 100 or more employees to implement vaccination requirements, and they're among the workforce. every day, we see more businesses implementing vaccination requirements. and the mounting data shows that they work. businesses and organizations are implementing requirements, seeing the vaccination rates rise by an average of 20% or more to well over 90%. the number of employees vaccinated. let's be clear. vaccination requirements should not be another issue that divides us. >> david michaels, the president using the word, stressing the word requirements. he doesn't say mandate in that -- in that short comment,
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in those short comments. >> that's right. and in fact, obviously, that was short hand for what osha is going to do. osha is not issuen a vaccination requirement or a mandate. as i said, osha's law says employers have to provide a safe workplace. potentially infectious workers are hazardous to other workers. and so the theory behind this rule, which fits directly in osha's roundhouse is that the employer has to make sure that anybody who enters the workplace, workers come into the workplace, they're not spreading a disease. so with osha will tell employers over 100 workers, they have to either make sure their workers are vaccinated or regularly test to show they're not infectious. or they can stay home. osha won't require workers at home to be tested. and so that combination of requirements will keep
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workplaces safe. it will stop the spread of the virus in the workplace, which is really important because there have been hundreds and hundreds of workplace outbreaks where one worker exposes other workers. those workers take the virus home to their communities, to their elderly relatives, and that's helping to drive this pandemic. >> it's the president calling it an emergency rule. the administration anticipating this to be an emergency rule. typically, how long do these emergency rules or regulations last? or any way to guess or speculate how long this vaccination rule might be in effect? >> well, the osha law gives osha authority to issue a rule for six months at a time. it doesn't have to go through the normal process, which we went through with silica, which took so long. this is actually saying when you have a novel or a new hazard
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that's a very grave hazard, as obviously this hazard is, you can issue a rule very quickly, and you have six months to enforce it. and that's what the law says. i think that's what osha will do. >> you were the head of osha during the obama administration, as we mentioned. you advised the incoming biden administration on a number of issues. did you have any role in advising the administration on the development of this rule? >> i did not. i was on a national academy of sciences panel to develop an equitable framework for the allocation of the vaccine. i think that was very important to point out the importance of workplaces and especially what are sometimes calls essential workers, workers in essential industries that have to show up at work. these are particularly overrepresented are black and brown workers who are at greater risk for lots of reasons, and i think that panel report was very important. but i didn't have any direct role in advising on this
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particular rule. >> there have been reports in the last couple days on the effectiveness of mandates issued by private companies. in particular, i'm talking about health companies. medical facilities, hospitals across the country. >> that's right. there is a rule coming down from a different federal agency, the center for medicare and medicaid services, which is essentially the system that provides medicare and medicaid funding that will say that every health care institution that gets this funding will have to have all of their employees vaccinated. several states have already put in rules like that. so the health care system is moving very quickly to vaccinate all of its workers. and we're seeing that only a very tiny percentage of workers are leaving the workplace because of this. when push comes to shove, there are lots of people who said, well, i don't want to get vaccinated, i'm against being vaccinated, i'm hesitant, but
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when they're told if you want to keep your job, and obviously protect other workers, make sure you don't spread the virus to patients who could be killed by it, they get vaccinated. and that's a great model. as president biden said, the vaccination rate is rising. it will continue to rise, and that's what we're going to need to stop this pandemic. >> so to be clear, does this requirement ask the state that workers need to be vaccinated or show proof of negative test? >> the osha requirement will say to employers, you must insure that your workers are vaccinated or show a negative test. there will be other rules coming out of the federal government that require vaccination for certain groups of workers, but the osha rule will not. >> david michaels, our guest. we welcome your calls and comments. 202-748-8,000 for those of you in the eastern and central time zones. 202-748-8001 mountain and pacific.
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let's go first to chucky in maryland. good morning. >> caller: good morning. i just had a quick statement. earlier, we were talking about what was the hardest regulation that your guest had to work on. and he brought up silica. and he made a statement that the reason it was so hard is because the industry was hiring scientists to lie. i don't quite understand that statement when we're told we need to trust the science, but with osha, they actually have proof that scientists are lying to them. i mean, can that go both ways? >> you have raised a great question. i have written a couple books on this very question. there is an industry called the product defense industry, and they hire mercenary scientists, just as there are some scientists who are out there saying covid is not spread by people or that masks don't work or that vaccinations don't work, there are always some scientists who will say things that are really out of the mainstream.
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government agencies have to think about those scientists, weigh the science out, and what happens in regulation, and this is true for occupational regules, for environmental regulation. there's a small industry of people who will say, that chemical just isn't dangerous. it's the tobacco model. tobacco had an operation white coat where they hired physicians and scientists who wore white coats and say i'm a scientist, and there really isn't proof that tobacco causes lung cancer. that same model is now used widely by many industries that want to avoid regulation. and so that's the issue that we dealt with at osha. you know, following the science is sort of -- it's short hand for saying let's really look at what the science says and take it seriously. >> our guest is a professor of epidemiology at the george washington school of public health and a professor of occupational safety. what are the issues that you're addressing in that class in particular these days? >> well, i teach -- these days,
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i teach environmental and occupational policy. which is the question of how do we take the science that we know and apply it to public health protections in the workplace and in the environment? you know, there's a very thin line. we shouldn't really separate those two. many cases, the exposure is inside the factory gates and fence or worse than outside the factory gates and fence. in fact y have a piece coming out this week with dr. robert bullard who is the father of environmental justice, talking about workplace environmental justice because the issues that we talk about around environmental justice, people living near factories, are perhaps even worse in workplaces. where minority workers, black and brown workers have the worst exposures. it's true across the board that workers are often forgotten. you know, just yesterday, the environmental protection agency announced a major program to control these pfas chemicals, teflon like chemicals. there's no mention of workers.
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workers are exposed to these in the workplace. that's what i teach about. how are we going to protect people, not just outside the workplace, but in the workplace as well. >> let's go to our next caller in youngstown, ohio. good morning. >> caller: good morning. can you hear me? >> yes, we can. >> caller: okay. yes, i do have an issue with the, you know, tracing the spread of covid, because you can't really say where you got it from. if you go to the doctors, all they can say is that you got it, and they can't tell you where you got it, how you got it. then, finally, about everything that's supposed to be free, it's not free. i don't believe it's free. >> you mean in terms of getting your vaccine or what? >> caller: yes, getting the vaccine might be free to us, but the government is paying these pharmacies to develop this.
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and i believe that's how it started. really, that's what i believe in, as far as the workplace, like i said, you can't trace it. and it is not effective. it's killing -- >> we'll hear from our guest. thanks for the call. >> you actually can trace who spread the virus from person to person. it requires some scientific work, and it's not done as much as it might be done, but it's called genomic sequencing, and there have been very important studies done in hospitals, in meat packing plants that can show exactly the exact variant of the virus that went from person to person to person. and that's how we know how the spread occurs within workplace. we have learned, for example, early in the epidemic, the cdc was saying it's only droplets which don't travel very far. they travel six feet. if you wear a surgical mask, you're fine, but there are studies that show in fact, one person infected another person,
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dozens of feet away or yards away because we could see exactly that was the virus that spread from one to the other. so there's a lot of great science being done here that's telling us the best way to protect people. >> i want to ask you about the potential conflict brewing between the state of texas and the federal government on the issue of vaccine rules and mandates. the latest, the executive order coming out of the governor of texas, governor greg abbott. his order said no entity in texas can compel the receipt of a covid-19 vaccine by an individual including an employee or consumer who objects to such vaccination for any reason or personal conscience based on religious belief or for medical reasons including prior recovery from covid-19. i hereby suspend all relevant statutes to the extent necessary to enforce this prohibition. he said it's yet another instance of federal overreach. the biden administration is now bullying many private entities to imposing covid-19 mandates
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causing workforce disruptions that threaten texas' continued recovery from the covid-19 disaster. this could be a potential legal battle between osha and the state of texas, could it not? >> well, there is so much wrong in what he said. the list is really extensive. first of all, it's very clear that federal regulations, federal rules and regulations preempt or trump any state law or regulation, whether or not the texas legislature passes it or the governor just pronounces it because he thinks he can. there's something called the supremacy clause of the constitution. so if it went to court, osha would win. it's pretty straightforward. look, i'm an epidemiologist, not an attorney, but what the attorneys tell me is that in an emergency situation, a public health emergency, a governor can say everybody has to wear a mask, for example. or public sector workers have to be vaccinated. but there's no sort of
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anti-emergency situation where he says you can't require vaccination. he's not the king of texas. the texas legislature will have to pass that law if he wants it to take effect. and then of course, osha has supremacy over that. but the other issue, which is really important, is he doesn't get what goes on in terms of covid and how it is spread. right now, the economy is not able to move back to normalcy because so many workers are afraid to go to work. the census bureau does a huge survey every two weeks. and there are about 3 million workers who are out of the workplace right now, out of the workforce because they're afraid of getting covid or spreading covid. employers are having tremendous difficulty getting people to come to work. this is a really important issue. people have to feel like it's safe to get to work. they have to be able to come in every day and not get sick. you know, it's worth talking about this sort of, the theory or the philosophy behind
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governor abbott, governor desantis, some of the thinking. this is people's right. they have the right to turn down a vaccination. it's an individual choice. and i get that. but you know, i think of it the same way as an individual choice to get, you know, just really drunk so you can't drive safely. it's absolutely your choice to get as -- imbide as much alcohol as you want, but it's not your choice to get in a car and drive, because obviously, you can hurt much more than yourself. you can hurt someone else. and you know, that's criminal. people go to jail and they should. i have lost friends, everybody knows people who have been hurt by drunk drivers. the thing about covid is it's sort of even worse. you can say i don't want to be vaccinated, but if you get sick, you may be healthy and you may have very little effect from that covid virus, but you can then spread it to others. and colin powell being an
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example who died yesterday, someone spread that virus to him. he didn't just get it from nowhere. there was someone perhaps someone who was vaccinated, perhaps someone who wasn't vaccinated who spread the virus to him and because he had a damaged immune system, he died. so you're spreading -- your not being vaccinated impacts people who are frail, who are elderly, who have bad immune systems. and furthermore, their hospitalization or perhaps your hospitalization, even though you say it's fine, i don't care if i'm hospitalized, those are filling up the hospital so people who desperately need medical care can't get it because the hospitals are filled with people who are unvaccinated who have gotten sick. so this idea that you don't really need to get vaccinated and by forcing people to be vaccinated, we're slowing down the economy, the opposite is true. we really need to make sure everybody is vaccinated so we can get back to functioning normally. >> this new osha rule that's coming out on vaccines, it doesn't tell employers what they
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must do with employees who don't get vaccinated or refuse to comply with tests, does it? >> that's right. no, look, many of us can work at home. obviously, if you work in many blue collar jobs, construction, you can't do that. it says to the employer, you figure it out. you have to get -- if they're not willing to be tested or vaccinated, you have to find something else for them to do, you can pay them if you want to. osha is not going to tell you what to do about that. but the underlying rationale behind this is to get people vaccinated. that's what the government wants you to do because that's what society needs you to do. if everybody is vaccinated, we'll be able to control this epidemic. >> understanding that as a regulation focuses on business, a federal regulation may not know -- you may not know this, but a viewer, tony in florida, asked this question. how many state and local government workers will be impacted by the new osha rule? >> that's a great question. you know, osha was set up in a
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time of this philosophy of federalism, which is the opposite of what it sounds like. it gives states a great deal of power. and so there are the federal government has oversight, osha oversight over 29 states. but only the private sector in those states, federal osha has no authority. however, there are 21 states that have their own state programs that cover all workers, including public sector workers, and there are about six more that have programs just for public sector workers. so it's a mosaic. about half the country, the public sector workers will be covered, states like california or washington or oregon, where the state governments will have the same rules or perhaps more stringent rules like washington state has already said every public sector worker in washington state has to be vaccinated. that's why they just fired the
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football coach in washington state university. he wouldn't get vaccinated. other states like texas and florida, for example, are under federal osha jurisdiction, and those are -- the state government agencies, the local government agencies, those are osha-free zones. it's unfortunate, but those workers have no rights to a safe work-up place. >> you mentioned washington state, and as you said, the head football coach at washington state has been fired. fired yesterday. fired as coach at washington state after refusing vaccine under state mandate. and several other assistant coaches as well. wilmington, north carolina, next up, we hear from alexis. good morning. >> caller: good morning. i have a question. i'm sorry, i didn't pay attention to your name, but you're the osha man. >> david michaels. >> caller: thank you. >> call me osha man. that's fine. >> caller: okay. buck stops here, right? i would like to know how, and i
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think you were sort of explaining it, but there's this big hub bub in chicago, mayor lightfoot has said anybody that's not showing up for duty with, you know, covid vaccine credentials can't work. and i think the fraternal order of police have weighed in. and how does osha fit in with all this stuff? they're government employees, are they not? how does that work? >> right. cook county police, chicago police, are public sector workers, but they're not federal workers. so federal osha has no jurisdiction over them. chicago, mayor lightfoot, as their employer, has said you must be vaccinated to continue to work. in addition, illinois has a state osha plan that will likely issue a very similar standard to
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osha's, federal osha, saying that all state and county agencies have to have, offer either a vaccine or testing choice. but in this case, as the employer, mayor lightfoot has simply said, if you want to work for the city of chicago, you have to be vaccinated. and that's -- many large employers have done that. obviously, united airlines did this. tyson's, the mammoth food producer, meat packer, which had tremendous problems with covid and many workers infected and many died, negotiated with their union, the united food and commercial workers, that everybody would get vaccinated. but the union was able to get additional time off, days of vacation for workers in exchange for the vaccination program. unions can certainly negotiate around vaccinations. and get something for their employer -- from their employer for their members in exchange for agreeing to mass
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vaccination. so there are lots of different ways to approach this, but the employer can always say, i want everybody here to be vaccinated. and the experience of many employers, like united airlines, is relatively small number of workers just simply refuse to cooperate and will lose their jobs. you know, the headline for united airlines was, 600 workers will be forced to leave the workplace. it's going to turn out to be less than that. 600 may sound like a lot, but united has 67,000 workers. that's under 1% of their workforce. that's regular turnover. it really turns out not to be a big deal. when some groups of workers, especially like the police say we won't cooperate, that makes the headlines. for the most part, these mandates by employers are successful. most workers agree, and they're safer as a result, and certainly, look, i wouldn't want to be stopped by a policeman who sticks his head into my car and he's not wearing a mask and he's not vaccinated. that policeman has become a public health menace.
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>> one of the headlines out of the chicago situation from yahoo, chicago mayor says police union trying to, quote, induce an insurrection, with vaccine mandate opposition. let's hear from carla next up in new york city. you're on. good morning. >> caller: hi, dr. michaels. how are you? my question is, i would like to know where osha was at the beginning of the pandemic when there wasn't enough ppe for the health care workers who came to work and risked their lives? and there was no -- there was nothing by the federal government or even state or local governments to do anything about this. and st. anthony got on tv and said it was okay for people to wear ppe among patients so there was cross contamination, which i'm sure contributed to more covid infections, more health care workers getting covid, and more patients getting covid. i just want to say that i kind of think it's disgraceful they did this in the beginning and risked their lives and now that people are choosing not to get vaccinated, they have no choice in the matter and they're
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getting fired left and right and also told they can't collect unemployment if they do this, which i also think is disgraceful considering there are so many people who stayed home during this thing and collected money when they could have worked. and that's just my comments. i would like to know what you have to say about this. >> i think you have raised a really important point. at the beginning of this pandemic, osha was nowhere to be seen. and that's because it was the trump administration, and the secretary of labor, who was the son of the former supreme court justice, an tonn scalia, essentially said osha doesn't need to do anything special. we'll keep doing what we're doing, and they were pretty much invisible. osha did an inspection at smithfield foods where more than 1,000 workers were infected. this was in south dakota. and dozens of workers were hospitalized. osha issued a fine of $15,000. you know, for a company that's worth many billions of dollars. so essentially, the trump
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administration and gene scalia handcuffed osha. since then, osha has become much more active. osha issued an emergency temporary standard to protect health care workers last june, with also new requirements for health care facilities. osha is making some progress, but certainly, they were not there at the beginning. >> this proposed rule from the biden administration from osha is in its draft form, which means they're still taking public commentary on this? >> yes, what they're doing is not taking comments through a docket where you send in your comments, which is the way it would be under a non-emergency rule, but the white house is having meetings right now. they're stakeholder meetings or meetings anyone can ask for. they come in and they haven't seen the proposal, but they know more or less what's in it. that started yesterday. it will go on for a few more
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days. essentially where different groups, employer groups, public health groups, labor groups will come in and say this is what we think should be in the rule, and then the white house working with osha will modify it accordingly if they have heard things they hadn't thought about or they were convinced by some of these meetings. that's why i dont think we're going to see the rule for another week or two, but it could happen much faster. >> a question from fred in virginia who says where is the data that shows 100 employees is the magic number that makes it safe or is this just made up? >> there are no data to say that 100 is a magic number. i think that was an unfortunate choice. i would have liked to have seen this done more universally to cover all employers or employers of more people, because really small employers always have challenged. but i think the white house and osha decided that really the white house decided that this really was something that large employers could handle more easily than small and medium
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size employers. and that's -- there was a decision made that way. >> next up is jeremy, lawrence, kansas. hello there. >> caller: hello. thank you. it is the case that the wise science-driven database public health policy way out of this pandemic is rapid antigen testing specifically. people can go look at harvard epidemiologist michael mena wrote an op-ed in "the new york times" october 1st, titled rapid tests are the answer to living with covid-19. obviously, if this administration were serious about protecting workers' health, they would make it mandatory for all to be tested for infectativety to go to work. vaccinated and unvaccinated. that's obvious. that needs to be -- biden needs to roll out the defense production act now and make it
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available for hundreds of millions of americans to test themselves at home, work, and school. and then finally, people need to go look at the vaccineologist who points out that covid-19 mass vaccination campaigns are promoting the dominance of selective immune escape variants, so in many ways, this policy of pfizer apartheid of putting vaccinees together unmasked indoors while we head into the winter is the worst thing you can do in terms of evolutionary genetics. >> jeremy, we'll get response from dr. michaels. >> you know, i know dr. mena. i agree with him, let me say rapid antigen testing is part of the answer, not the answer, but i think having access to rapid testing would certainly help people discover much more quickly if they are infectious, and then obviously, we need to
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be able to encourage them to stay home, so we need a program that requires employers to have paid sick leave accompanying any sort of rapid testing because you certainly don't want people who are infectious to go to work. now, there's been a shortage of these tests. but as part of the covid plan that the president announced, the government, the federal government is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into development and dissemination of these rapid antigen tests and i'm told by certainly by december and hopefully before, we'll have huge numbers of these tests, and that will, i think, make a difference as well. >> let's hear from mark. omaha, nebraska, next up. hi there. >> caller: hello. thanks for taking my call. and thanks for coming there, dr. michaels. i got comorbidities, so i am -- i got moderna and stuff, so but i was concerned about the vaccine mandates for everyone. i'm not for that, only because
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i'm thinking like you have said the most people at risk are the elder and people with comorbidities. why can't a mandate come out where it says, hey, if you have comorbidities, you should wear an n-95 mask? why make everyone when it only affects like less than 1% of the people that can be damaged by it? why can't the mandate go to people that are more at risk? and i'm wondering, once you start these mandates all the time, do you eventually see a flu mandate coming also for the flu, the government mandating that? thank you. >> you know, it's so funny that everybody is all worked up about the covid vaccine mandate. we have tons of mandates going on right now in terms of many other vaccinations. if you want to come to the university i teach at, you're going to have to have a meningitis vaccination because we don't want that spreading. most public schools have requirements of mumps, measles.
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you had to get smallpox vaccination to do many things until we finally eliminated smallpox. this idea that there's all of a sudden this crazy mandate is something that's really been ginned up in this very polarized society. and it's unfortunate. so many people have bought into it. this idea, though, of saying, well, let's just have people with comorbidities, people who where more at risk wear n-95 masks, there's something in occupational health called the hierarchy of controls. this is well tested to understand what's the most effective way to protect people. and personal protective equipment, giving someone an n-95 so they're not exposed, is the least effective way to do it. we know it doesn't work. you want to get the hazard out of the air so people aren't exposed and the vaccination does that. it's upside down to say that people who are at risk should wear masks. first, you don't know if you're totally at risk. there are people who don't have
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comorbidities who are not frail who are still getting sick, who still could die, and it's very difficult to spend your life wearing an n-95 all the time. and so that just wouldn't work. >> question for you from william in middletown, connecticut. asks are these mandating companies, assuming he means the companies affected by the forthcoming rule, protected from lawsuits like the federal and state government, hospitals, municipalities, et cetera? >> yes, and that's one of the real advantages of this rule. i talk to many large employers. i speak to large employer groups all the time. many large employers who wanted to increase vaccination rates among their employees would check with their general counsels and the counsel will say, if we require everyone to get vaccinated, we're going to get sued. and we may succeed, we may fail, but it's going to cost you money. you don't really want to get into that. now, these employers can point
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to the federal government and say, look, we're required to do this. this is not a choice. so if you want to sue someone, sue the federal government, not us. this protects all these employers. lets them focus on what they need to focus on, which is the work they need to do, and not worry about being sued. >> as we talk this morning, news about the booster shot, the fda may approve people to mix and match, quote/unquote, booster shots, according to reports. and expected to make that decision in the coming weeks. what is your thought on the potential for mixing and matching booster shots? >> you know, i read the same literature everybody else does. in the medical journals and newspapers. it certainly looks like for the johnson & johnson vaccine, if you got that vaccine as your first shot, which we thought was a one and done, it turns out not to be, you could get a second shot to really boost your immunity, and getting an mrna vaccine, in other words, moderna
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or pfizer, seems to do better than just giving you a second johnson & johnson one. so that will likely be the advice, i think that's probably good advice. >> is the current thinking that these boosters could be an annual or a biannual thing for people? >> it could be. we don't know, obviously. you know, what we have seen is the mrna vaccines wane in their immunity over four months, six months, perhaps a little longer. we may have better vaccines in the future. these are fabulous now. they're not perfect, and no vaccination is perfect. you know, we look back on the success of the polio vaccine. at the beginning, there were quite a few breakthrough cases and the vaccine was tweaked and we're doing much better now and don't need to get multiple vaccines. but also, that's because polio is not around much anymore. we might move to a place where we have to do annual or biannual vaccinations, as we do with flu. but these vaccines are much more effective than the flu vaccine.
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and that's because flu evolves, and the variants of flu are really quite different every year. i think as the science develops, as vaccinology develops, we may move to every couple years. perhaps we'll get a vaccine that gives much longer term protection. we'll see where that goes. the main thing we need to do is stop this spread of this virus because it's killing so many people. we're still, even with vaccination rates going up and the variant a little bit under control, we're still at 1,000 deaths, more than 1,000 deaths every day in the united states. that's like three 747s crashing every day in the united states. we can't let that go on. >> let's get one more call. jim is in california. go ahead. >> caller: yeah, hi. i'm just concerned about them wanting to push more vaccinations onto people like the flu.
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they're already doing it here in davis, they're making the students get the flu vaccine. and so i'm more concerned about information of what's in the vaccine because what makes me hesitant is the mercury and things like that they're giving the kids that are causing adhd and whatever. so you guys are all about the science. but make us more educated and tell us what are in these vaccines. and you know, i'm a military brat. i had vaccines all my life, but i stay away from the flu vaccine. i believe in my own body. and i think -- >> did you ever have, jim, an adverse reaction to those vaccines in your childhood? >> caller: well, i got out when i was time. >> okay, we'll hear from -- >> those venes worked. there was fear about mercury. there's no mercury in any of
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these vene vaccines. there was a study that was done, purportedly to be done, that suggestions vaccinations led to increased risk of autism. that's been totally, totally, totally refuted. the person who did that study was either a scoundrel or mentally ill. he made the numbers up. that's been shown. but that scared a lot of people. sxun fortunately, it led to a lot of people not letting their kids be vaccinated for very serious, deadly diseases, and i'm sure killed quite a few kids. it's really important, you know, we need to know more. we need to tell people what's in these vaccines, but right now, everybody tells us, everything we know tells us these vaccines are safe. the risk of covid is so much worse than the vaccine. when you weigh out that risk versus the benefit of that vaccination, go ahead, get the vaccination. it anot only could save your
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life. it could save the life of one of your loved ones or people who are at greater risk, like colin powell. >> dr. david michaels, thank you so much for being with us this morning. >> my pleasure. >> after the break, here on "washington journal," we'll be joined next by a former republican fec chair, federal election commission chair, brad smith, the founder and chair of the institute for free speech. we'll talk about what his group calls assaults on americans' first amendment rights. >> this week on the c-span networks, the house and senate will be in session. watch on c-span and c-span2. also live coverage of several congressional hearings. today at 9:30 a.m., the senate finance committee considers the nomination of chris magnus to be
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the u.s. customs and border protection commissioner. at 7:30 p.m. eastern, live on c-span2, the january 6th committee will vote to refer stephen bannon to the justice department for criminal contempt after his refusal to comply with the subpoena to appear before the committee. then, on wednesday, at 9:30 a.m. eastern, live on c-span3, the senate foreign relations committee holds a confirmation hearing for a few nominees. among them, nicholas burns, who president biden nominated to be the u.s. ambassador to china, and white house chief of staff and chicago mayor rahm emanuel, who is up for u.s. ambassador to japan. on thursday, two oversight hearings at 10:00 a.m. eastern, live on c-span3. attorney general merrick garland will make his first appearance before the house judiciary committee on issues facing the justice department. at 10:00 a.m. eastern live on and on the new c-span now app, homeland security secretary alejandro mayorkas
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will appear before the senate judiciary committee. watch this week on the c-span networks or watch our full coverage on c-span now, our new video app. also head over to for scheduling information or to stream video, live on or demand, anytime. c-span, your unfiltered view of government. >> weekends on c-span2 are an intellectual feast. every saturday, you'll find events and people that explore our nation's past on american history tv. on sundays, book tv brings you the latest in nonfiction books and authors. it's television for serious readers. learn, discover, explore. weekends on c-span2. >> "washington journal" continues. >> brad smith is with us, the former chair of the federal
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election commission. he is also founder and chair of the institute for free speech. here with us to talk about his organization and their look at threats to americans' free speech rights. brad smith, good morning. >> good morning. thank you, bill. >> tell us about your organization, the institute for free speech. why did you found it? why did you create it, and what's your mission? >> well, the institute for free speech, i originally founded as shortly after i left the federal election commission in 2005. and the reason was, its mission was initially to focus strictly on political speech. there was a sense that i noticed at the commission all the time of this sort of denigrating core political speech, saying that's just, you know, we need to equalize it, we need to crack down on big money or something, where big money was actually funding the discussion of ideas in the united states and donors were pooling their resources to
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talk about political issues. and that's at the very core of the first amendment. over time, our mission has expanded to defend the first amendment in other areas, but with, again, still a core focus on people's ability to discuss issues of public importance in the public arena. so we're concerned now about, for example, the ability of people to speak about ballot issues, just about legislation generally, about events at their local school board, anything like that, that pertains to the discussion of public affairs in america. without that, democracy is pretty much doomed. we have to be able to talk about things. otherwise, it becomes raw acts of power. >> you mentioned donors and political speech. how about your donors? who funds your organization? >> we don't disclose our donors. we're funded almost entirely by individuals. we get very, very limited corporate support, i mean 1% or 2% if that in most years.
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some of our money comes from foundations. mainly, it comes from individuals who are particularly interested in political speech. >> let's start off and talk about those school board protests. the headline from a week ago or so from the associated press, garland says, attorney general says authorities will target school board threats, and your organization, the institute for free speech, recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of a pennsylvania family who felt they were being threatened by a school board. explain that case to us. >> sure. that case is a case called marshall v.muso, in which we represent four plaintiffs suing the school board. it's a district outside of philadelphia. in that particular case, these individuals sought to comment during a public comment period at the school board meeting. and very calmly, they began to comment on things, particularly pertaining to what is often called crt, critical race theory
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curriculum in the schools, that's what they were commenting on. the school board simply began to shout over them. peter musso, who is the legal counsel to the school board, cut them off in midsentence, began screaming at them, you're done. you're done. it's remarkable to see. you can find the clips on youtube without much difficulty or go to our site for a full briefing on the case. the way it works is, a school board or a public body doesn't have to have a public comment period. but if they do, that becomes what in legal terms is called limited public forum. and the school district can't only allow people who agree with its policies to speak up. it can't only allow people who say what they want it to say to speak. if you're going to have a public forum, you have to allow the public to speak. these people were calmly, rationally trying to make a case, and they were shouted down, talked over, cut off. in fact, many cases, the school board was then actually editing
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their remarks out of official videos and transcripts of the meeting as if they had never even spoken. that's a case where we're suing to vindicate their first amendment rights. if the school board is going to have a public comment period, then it needs to allow the public to comment. i think most of us agree that school boards should hear from their constituents and should have a public comment period. this is not a question of, you know, anything else. anybody who has a question about this, you can find the video on youtube. pensbury schoolboard meeting or look at our site and find the links. it's literally shocking how these people were treated by what are supposed to be their public representatives. >> you mentioned the school board official who shouted down a member of somebody trying to speak in that meeting. a picture here from the daily beast of another school board meeting with plenty of people carrying signs, showing signs at that school board meeting. brad smith, where is the balance? how does the -- how should a school board, a town council, a
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city council balance both the rights of the people who want to testify, who want to speak out, and the rights of the organization itself to conduct its business? >> sure. well, you know, it's really nothing new. obviously, you can limit people who are disruptive, who make it impossible to carry on legitimate government meeting. and we also always have had certain restrictions on protests. you can't get violent in your protesting. but within that framework, again, people have a right to protest. they have a right to air their views. again, if the school board or any local body or any state body has a public comment period, people have to be allowed to comment publicly. what's alarming about the attorney general's memorandum was that he was threatening to get the fbi involved in what is traditionally local police matters if there's actual violence, and moreover, most of the alleged incidents that were
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discussed in this memorandum from the national association of school boards which appeared to be a coordinated effort. the government said give us this memo and that will give us an excuse to threaten people, most of those were perfectly peaceful incidents. the fact that someone gets a little upset is usually not going to be a sufficient reason to shut that person down. they have to really be disruptive in a way that cuts off the ability of the government to function. and certainly, the mere fact that they disagreed with government policy cannot be a basis to not allow them to speak. >> what should be done about people who actually get threats against members of a school board or other council like that? >> those are traditionally handles as police matters and they're serious matters. you can't threaten people, you can't get violent, you can't get disruptive so other people can't comment or carry on the meeting. those can be handled by local authorities. that's traditionally how it's been done in the united states. but again, the key thing here is
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that most of these commentators, most of these parents who are showing up at school board meetings are not violent. they're not even raising their voices. they're just citizens who are concerned. what is happening we see in school district after school district is intransigent administrators are refusing to even hear their positions. that's bad in and of itself, but also it's bad because long term if you don't let people express their concerns, if you make them feel like their concerns are trivial and you don't care about them and don't think they should be heard, people will, i think, start to become more frustrated and that frustration is more likely to bubble over in inappropriate ways. >> you mentioned the fbi potentially becoming involved. the letter from the attorney general to the fbi said in part this, threats to public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation's core values. those who dedicate their time and value to make sure our children have a safe environment deserve to do their work without
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fear or safety. the department takes these incidents safely and is committed to using its authority and resources to discourage these threats, identify them when they occur, and prosecute them when appropriate. in the coming days, the department will announce a series of measures designed to address the rise in criminal conduct directed towards school personnel. one, how much criminal conduct is being directed at school board personnel and the like? and two, where is the federal involvement here? where does the federal responsibility come in? >> sure. i think the answer to the first question, how much, you know, is -- i think the answer is really very little. it's a big country with lots of districts. you can find episodes of people getting out of line or making threats. by the way, we can find that all over the place against from leftist causes, from right-wing causes. there are people who get out of line, who do things that they
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shouldn't do. and that's part of the problem here. there's not really much evidence this is a major problem, that this is suddenly something the fbi needs to be involved in as counterterrorism. as opposed to isolated incidents in which individuals who step over the line can be handled by local authorities, by local police. i think many people view this as an intentional effort to intimidate and to cut off criticism of these curriculum changes that are sometimes called crt, critical race theory or sometimes called equity and inclusion. they go by a variety of names, but a lot of parents don't like this and they're very concerned about it. we at the institute for free speech don't take any stand on the theory. what we're concerned about is parents have a right to be involved in their kids' kedgeation, and more importantly, to speak out about school board policies that they like or don't like. >> we're talking free speech
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issues and first amendment issues with former fec chair brad smith, who is now the founder, the ceo and founder of the institute for free speech. we welcome your calls and comments. for republicans, the line is 202-748-8001. for democrats, 202-748-8000. another issue is the potential voting rights legislation coming up in congress. a revision of the for the people act is being considered, and maybe come to a preliminary vote, certainly in the senate. revised democratic voting bill drops controversial provisions, tweaks others, as pressure for action mounts. this is this revision, the freedom to vote act is the signal version, the revised version. among its changes to the for the people act, it would require superpacs and other groups to disclose its donors. it would require political ads sold online to have the same
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transparency as ads sold on radio and tv. it would insure single candidate super pacs do not operate as part of the campaign. brad smith, your views, your organization's views on that potential legislation, that potential bill? >> sure, much of the legislation deals with voting rights matters. and those are against things that we take no position on at the institute for free speech. but not getting talked about enough, i think, are the kind of speech and campaign finance issues that you just mentioned. and several of those, i think there's a misunderstanding about a number of things. for example, as you described the legislation, this is how it's described by sponsors. it would require super pacs to disclose their donors. super pacs already disclose their donors. that's the law ever since super pacs were created. what they want to do is require disclosures of people who are not necessarily supporting particular ads, for example, somebody might be a member of a
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group that's not, say, a super pac. they might be a member of an environmental group and maybe they're a member of the environmental group because they favor a carbon tax and they're concerned about climate change. but they oppose subsidies to green industries which they opp industries they don't think is a good way to fight climate change. they could find their name appearing as the funder or the person responsible for an ad promoting subsidies in industries. so it's in some ways misleading. but, again, the donors to super pacs are already disclosed. the other thing the bill goss is the federal elections commission has operated on a bipartisan basis this could be a powerful weapon if one party could gain control of it, it could attack the other side and prevent the other side from campaigning effectively. it is always required by partisan participation. the bill as it was originally set up would have overtly done away with that requirement and given the president's party a
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majority, a controlling majority, on the commission. that has been taken out but there's been substituted provision which indirectly does away with the requirement for bipartisanship. essentially what it does, it says, well, whatever the general counsel decides will be the rule, unless there's a bipartisan majority to overturn it, which means essentially you can have partisan decisions again and one of the problems is filling the general counsel position. it's a very important position. the parties often butt heads on it. if it becomes a situation where what the general counsel says goes, i don't see how they will ever fill the vacancy because the commissioners of any party would not let it be filled by anybody who had the slightest chance of leaning to the other side because if they did, they could not be stopped. the fec would be exactly what it's designed not to be, a partisan weapon being used by one particular party. so there's a number of problems
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in the bill. the bill also regulates any speech that purports to promote attack, support or oppose a candidate. so groups that might want to run an ad that would say, you know, kyrsten sinema should vote to end the filibuster, is that there for limiting the money the group can spend on the ad and what it has to do in terms of its disclosure. it has vague provisions like that that are incorrect, i think, and will stifle free speech. we think that the law goes way too far, that the compromised version does not address the problems in that portion of the act. >> briefly before we get to calls, you served in the early years of the bush administration on the federal election commission. you chaired the commission, resigning in 2005. what were some of the things that worked well and didn't work
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so well and how you would like to see that changed. >> i was appointed by president clinton but it was to a republican seat. it was a bipartisan commission. the commission gets a lot of flak a lot of the time, i think unfairly so. the fact is that the commission is hemmed in by a large number of supreme court decisions, most of which i think are good decisions, and we have to be very careful in how we approach that. i think there has become a bit of an issue on the commission in particular commissioners have become unwilling to sort of compromise. commissioner weintraub, one of the democratic commissioners, has been intentionally trying to make it difficult for the fec to defend its decisions in court, refuses to allow the fec to
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defend its positions in court, and that means that the fec ends up not defending and you get default judgments creating policy in a cumbersome way. anger on her part when she loses votes she refuses to help the commission move forward. they need to re-establish a sense of camaraderie. it would probably be help figures that commissioner weintraub has been there almost 20 years, complains a lot about the commission becoming dysfunctional but she's been there all of that time, like 15 years over the expiration of her term, and it would be helpful, i think, to get a new commissioner in there in accordance with the statute which is supposed to limit to a six-year term. >> let's hear from michael in grand rapids, michigan, democrats line. >> caller: yes. i have two points, gentlemen. one in terms of the critical race theory that the gentleman mentioned in the beginning of
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his presentation at school board, and i assume that would be k-12 school board. critical race theory, is my understanding, is a college theory and that being presented in elementary school for sure. oftentimes it's said it's teaching kids to hate themselves. what kids? white kids? what about black kids who have lived under the tyranny of racism in this country? in texas, it was taught slavery was not a bad thing. >> well, again, we don't take a position on the benefits or -- what do i want to say the liabilities of teaching critical race theory. there's the question of what is critical race theory. i think it's fair that parents are upset about a wide doctrine
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taught in schools that go generally under that rubric and we don't need to start parsing this down whether this is what derek bell, my former professor at harvard law school, meant. it's more the general curriculum. we take no position but say personalities saernl have a right to be involved and to pick up publicly and to engage in peaceful protests or peaceful statements and demonstrations about what should be taught in schools. >> freddie is on the republican line. >> caller: yes, my question is a little bit more general. sorry if i go too far. when i grew up, i remember having debates with my uncles and things like that. at the end of the debate or discussion, he would say, i may disagree with you but i will defend to the end your right to
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say it. everyone knows that. but something happened in this country. i first noticed it in college in the '70s when i saw a letter to the editor that says freedom of speech is okay but you can't really hurt poor people or black people with your freedom of speech. you only have freedom of speech when it helps people. it seems to catch on more and more. what is your opinion? why did we all suddenly come to that pretty much everyone agrees we should have freedom of speech and all of a sudden freedom of speech is denigrated. there are more important things like critical race theory or whatever your cause is. when do you think was the turning point people turned against freedom of speech which is one of the principles of this country was founded out? >> i think it's been a long, slow process, i agree with you that something has changed and
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it's been a fairly long process. old-timers like me, we used to say sticks and stones may break my bones but words never hurt me. we realize words do hurt people and what's happening, there's been a movement to say you can't say certain things, you shouldn't say certain things, you can't say certain things. we need to go back to the classic theory as set forth, first, you have to have speech to test whether your ideas are right. you just take now people talk we can't have disinformation. we need to tamp down on disinformation. we only know disinformation in hindsight and we have situations like with covid, for a long time, oh, it couldn't have leaked from a lab. it had to have jumped from animals, and yet now i think more and more the generally accepted theory it probably did leak from a lab, and there was a time people were trying to stop anybody from suggesting the lab
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leaked theory. you can only get to the truth of things and get good public policy and get what we want out of government if we can debate these issues and discuss these issues. like the previous caller said, well, we should be discussing race matters. i think that's right. people need to be willing to discuss these types of things. one of the criticisms of what, again, people i think often call crt, they say crt tends to cut off that discussion. i don't take the position that it does, but certainly we see that more and more, that people say i don't like what you're saying and i want to stop it and in the way people indirectly go after folks. if you didn't like what somebody said, you spoke back, you did your own speech. now more and more when somebody says something we don't like, there's an effort to destroy the person's ability to work, to live, to get them fired from their be job. we're going to hold them accountable for their speech.
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what does that mean to try to use force rather than persuasion? we're using force to force and prevent them from working or to ruin their small business or to hound them and make their lives miserable by protesting outside their homes at night. these are dangerous and undemocratic attitudes that we've developed. the first amendment applies to government efforts but the first amendment relies on a citizenry willing to hear other ideas and recognize, as the caller said, we disagree on this one but you have a right to say this. i hope we can get back to that attitude. >> do you think the citizenry, us, that we've gotten less receptive to hearing other ideas over the years? >> i think definitely we have. again, there's this tendency to tune out opposing views. some of it goes to how our media is fragmented and people can
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seek out and be presented with views they already agree with. there's a number of studies that show when people get in the echo chamber they become more and more extreme or just imagine if you're in a committee meeting and you have a committee meeting with eight liberals on the committee. they will talk differently than they will if they're in a room with all eight liberals or the same if you made it eight conservatives. it matters and gets people used to listening to others and recognizing that, you know, we're not enemies, we're not bad people because we disagree on issues we care about and we need to be able to talk about these issues. persuasion doesn't matter, what are you left with? you're left with force and
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that's not a good way to live. >> we'll hear from nelson, redwood city, california. good morning. >> caller: yeah, i agree with some that he's saying but the thing with these conservative think tanks like the federalist -- and i was republican for four years until they started with liz cheney and adam kinzinger and i'm a blab conservative, way before donald trump was republican, i was voting for donald trump. but now he became a white nationalist savior with republicans. if you can't say snig against what the governor of texas is doing, you're not really having any integrity because he's stopping people from teaching even rosa parks, even about texas in slavery. slavery was illegal in texas when it was owned by mexico.
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the slavers came in and then they tried to take new mexico and they fought for the confederacy to make all americans -- >> okay, nelson. brad smith, anything to comment on there? >> i don't know what the curriculum is in texas and i don't know anybody nor have i seen anybody advocate not teaching things like rosa parks or the civil rights movement or slavery. if one thinks that's true, one needs to be able to go and talk to their local school board, may need to organize a demonstration or protest to say we want a curriculum that is appropriate. imagine if you were giving the comments our caller just made and i or bill just started yelling over them, you're done, you're out of here. that's it, you're done. that's what happened at that
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pennsbury school board meeting when people tried simply to talk calmly as the caller was about what they thought should be taught in schools. it's vitally important we be able to discuss these issues, what should be taught in schools, what is the proper balance when we teach an honest history of race to something that seems perhaps not entirely grounded in fact. and that can go both ways. some people think too much white wash history, that there's too much blaming americans. that's a tough issue, and we need to be able to discuss it and debate it. >> a question from j.d. in florida who asked, isn't voting rights a fundamental freedom of speech? why doesn't your organization fight for these encroachments or fight these encroachments? >> well, voting rights have a speech element. but generally, i think, the
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purpose of voting is to elect government. your vote is secret. i think voting is very important but its main function is it's important because it's how we elect people. in terms of fighting for free speech again, you have to pick and choose your battles. we're a small organization. our budget is about $2.5 million. we're dwarfed by most organizations around washington. you pick your fights that matter, and for us we want to focus on things more directly related to people talking about issues, the runup and not just in the context of elections but to talk about them in our daily lives. we don't have an election period in the united states. we don't call an election and you have six weeks to campaign. we always talk about politics and public affairs and issues.
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that's what our organization has chosen to focus on. >> we have less than 15 minutes to speak with our guest, brad smith. the hearing on the custom and border patrol nominee, the current tucson chief of police is coming up live at 9:30 eastern here on c-span. we welcome your calls and comments. until then democrats, 202-748-8000. and independents and others 202-748-8002. brad smith, i wanted to ask about the issue of misinformation. we talked on this earlier. a pugh research shows 48% of adults now say the government should take steps to restrict false information even if it means losing some freedom to access and public content. what are your thoughts on that? >> i think the 48% of people probably think what they say would never be deemed false and
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that's the danger, of course, of giving this power to the government. the idea of the first amendment was we don't give that power to the government or anybody. rather, ideas go out in the marketplace and there they are tested. if we say some idea is false, then a year and a half ago we would have said you can't talk about the covid lab leak theory. the guidance was people should not wear masks. you can do that with zillions of other issues, you cannot talk about russian collusion. that's false. you can pick your issue. most things are questions of politics and interpretations of facts, how people think of
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things but even fact statements have to be challenged. it's not only that you only know your argument if you know what other people say about it but ultimately you can't prove your test your argument and if you never are allowed to have voice, these things become dry and stale and leads to poor public policy, poor public debate and worse democracy. you can't have democracy if you're going to go around and say what that guy says is false so we're going to stop it. you go out and you explain why it is false and you need to keep in mind that if they have the political power and you've set the tone that you can silence false speech, they might say what you're saying is false, and you might find you're not allowed to speak your opinions.
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>> let's hear from lisa in lufkin, texas. good morning. >> caller: good morning. yes, governor abbott has sued our schools, the lufkin school district, and i saw on the local news last night a handful of parents actually hired an attorney to speak on the behalf of their children not wearing masks. where does it end? >> mask mandates are something we don't take a position on but we do take a position on the ability of parents or others to be able to organize that we should or should not have mask mandates. one thing people can do is to hire an attorney if necessary or a spokesperson. we kind of relate it to, say, campaign finance or something.
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you just just speak on your own. sometimes it's more effective hiring someone else to do it for you. some people don't like to stand up in a public meeting, don't know how to make effective radio ads. oftentimes by allowing people to come together as a group, to hire an attorney to represent them, we enhance public speech and we enhance the debate that goes on in public. and, again, ultimately the school boards have to make a decision. we're going to have to make a mask mandate or not. but whatever decision is made people have a right to criticize it and to argue that the policy ought to be changed. >> on our republican line here in the nation's capital, doc, good morning. >> caller: good morning. thanks for having me. >> you bet. go ahead. >> caller: i live in the nation's capital, as you mentioned, washington, d.c., and
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what i've noticed in the d.c. superior court, particularly with one particular judge, and this is a very liberal town, the d.c. superior court, is recodifying what i believe to be laws that are settled law on the d.c. books. as it relates to what you're talking about with preempting speech and having due process, talk to me about how you feel about speech that's being abridged, that's not harassing, that's not hostile speech or threatening speech but just speech in general and how the d.c. superior court is recodifying things and abridging speech and ignoring the argument, as you put it, which i appreciate you saying it that way when you limit the speech, you limit the person's ability to make an argument.
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and we just have lost that in our society. and the ability to debate issues and to be heard. >> thank you. we'll hear from brad smith, thanks. >> thanks, doc. i'm not familiar with the particular rulings coming out of the d.c. superior court. i can say that historically the rule in the united states was that, again, you could state your opinions, there were very rare exceptions if your opinion was likely to imminently incite a riot, but those are very, very rare circumstances. the fact that people might be persuaded by an idea, might actually act on it is not a basis for censoring that idea. that's why we have speech so you can try to get people to change
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their opinion, to change their minds, and act on the ideas that you have. i think we're very fortunate that our supreme court has been very protective in a wide variety of circumstances. i do father that our society is more and more -- as bill found 48% of people want to censor what they think is disinformation. i think they presume they'll never be the ones who are sensors. we live in a society of people wanting to hold accountable for their speech, ruin them, ie, destroy their ability to earn a living, threatening them and so on. and these kinds of things are very bad, again, for democracy. it used to be said way back in the founding error that given a choice we would rather have the newspapers and free speech and we were kind of forgetting that.
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we get the truth and we get to good policies only by having good, vigorous, peaceful debate. >> this term preemptive speech, would an example be when the nation -- washington, d.c., and other federal officials considered the request of those who val rallied for those arrested on january 6. there was plenty of police presence, is preemptive speech a consideration by those officials on what the potential outcome may be of a speech like that or an event like that? >> well, again, under supreme court precedent, you really can't limit that kind of speech unless it appears likely to incite an imminent riot and i just don't think that's there.
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again, i didn't follow those events closely but saw no reason to think anybody was inciting a riot there and the government cannot just generally suppress protest demonstrations, a speaker on the theory that, again, maybe people will hear them and be persuaded. the government can't do that. that's what the first amendment is intended to prevent. >> but can prescribe the size of a rally or the venue of those who would like to make the speech, correct? >> well, when somebody wants to protest in public spaces, the government can put certain limits in place. they should not be based on viewpoint. you can't say we're going to allow the folks who want to prosecute the january 6 rioters to have their demonstration and those who want to say defend the january 6 patriots, something like that. you can't have that kind of
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viewpoint discrimination involved. but, yeah, the government can put certain limits, at least, on time and place of demonstrations. >> we have a couple more calls before the committee gavels in. we'll hear from valdez in mapleton, illinois. independent line. >> caller: yes, hi. good morning. >> good morning. >> caller: i'm a former soldier, enlisted, not drafted. also retired police officer. and i can tell you this absolutely that people have been talking about freedom to speak for many, many years, mr. smith, and if your reading of history tells you that people tried to peacefully petition the government back in the '60s and were beaten down, it's not a new phenomenon that people are going to classrooms and just trying to speak. so your organization should go back a little bit. what you're seeing now, in fact, you're seeing a group of people who are now feeling as if they're going to be in a
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minority, which is true. that's what they don't like. what they're uncomfortable with. i think you should expand. you seem to be focused on some issues. expand your thinking a little bit. thank you. >> well, it's unfortunate that i wasn't around to form the institute for free speech in the 1960s. i was a grade schooler but, again, what we're focused on today are people's rights to speak about political matters and if people want to go and speak in front of school boards about slavery and race relations and get shouted down by the school boards, we'll try to defend their rights, too. >> let's hear from iris in tampa, florida. good morning. >> caller: good morning. thank you for letting me speak. i fully agree with the concept
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of free speech. it was put in the skungs so we can have accurate dissemination of news and facts. however, in today's environment it has been weaponized and people can say whatever they want in a violent mattory stir up unlawful actions. now you've stated if that happens then refer it to the police but it's a little too late then. i think we have to have -- if we've come to the point we have to have some kind of guidelines for people to express free speech. i watched the hillsborough county school board meeting a couple of months ago and i listened to it for two hours, and i was appalled at the violent nature of the parents who were against the mask and the vaccine, how they threatened
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the school board members, and school board members can't say anything and put a stop to it? i was raised, my grandmother and mother, we were raised that when you speak, you have to be police. polite. you express yourself but not in a violent matter. we need to protect free speech the way it was intended to be. >> okay, iris. brad smith? >> as i've tried to emphasize throughout, the caller is quite right. there's speech that gets out of line and that can be dealt with by vocal police. the vast majority are people speaking normally, politely and rationally. to the extent that people are acting properly and not allowed to speak because we view it as disinformation or inciting
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people to bad things or whatever, if we don't let them speak, eventually it will boil over more likely in the manner you criticize. the first amendment has always stood for the idea you can basically say whatever you want in very broad parameters. that is something that has been beneficial for the united states and we're going to be in big trouble if we start thinking that we can trust the government with decide who has spoken too much or too little, who is telling the truth, who is spreading disinformation or whose speak is particularly dangerous because of the positions they take. i think the first amendment was to make sure that we won't succumb to those issues on short-term problems. >> kurt, go ahead.
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>> good morning, brad. you being an fcc commissioner, i believe speech is regulated by the fcc versus what you can say on broadcast media. would that extend, also, over into, in your opinion, the internet and the twitters and facebooks and things like that? >> just to clarify he was former fec commissioner. go ahead, brad smith. >> the fcc, the federal communications commission regulates broadcasts. the fec, the federal election commission, regulates campaign finance. i think the core difference is that with broadcast you have a limited amount of space, a limited amount of networks and they have 24 hours a day to but the information on. i'm not sure that you can effectively transport a lot of doctrines regulating broadcast
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media to the internet and social media. it raises different questions. >> brad smith, thanks so much for being with us this morning, brad smith. >> thank you, bill. today admiral karl schultz testifies before a senate subcommittee. watch live at 2:30 p.m. eastern on c-span3, online at or video video app, c-span now. >> on thursday attorney general merrick garland testifies on the justice department's mission and policies before the house judiciary committee. we're covering it live at 10:00 a.m. on c-span3, online at or new video app, c-span now. get c-span on the go. watch the day's biggest


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